Skip to main content

Full text of "The seal and arms of Pennsylvania"

See other formats



The Great Seal 






carlisle, pa. 








Tiiden '/ 

Aster, Lr'.rox ard 


IX connectiou with tlie preiJiii-ation of the fouilh scrii's of the Penn- 
sylvauia Aitliives, it became ueeessaiy to examine many doeu- 
meuts upon which the various forms of the seals and coat of 
anus of the Commonwealth appeared — allording' jjrohably a better 
opjiortunity for a study of these emblems than has hitherto occurred. 
I'areful advantage wan taken of tlliese opportunities and the follow- 
ing study of the subject has been founded ujjon them. 

\Vhen the son of Admiral Sir William Tenn became proprietor of 
a vast estate in North America, in reward for his father's services to 
the crown, the Penn arms became the arms of the Province and the 
J'enn seal became the seal of the Colony. 

It should be obiserved that the seal is the impression made upon 
a plastic material by compression between tllie plates of a seal-press. 
The error of referring to the seal-press as a seal, is not uncommon, 
and has crept into t«;onie of the dictionaries, but strict accuracy dic- 
tates the rejection of it» employment in that sense. A seal, then, is 
an impressed device attached to a })aj»er for purposes of authentica- 
tion, and the instrument, by which it is made, is a seal-press or 

There were three kinds of provincial seals: 

1. The (Ireat Seal of the Province. 

2. The Lesser Seal of the Piovince. 

3. The Seal at Arn)s. 

They were used upon (lomiiiciiis of varying inij)ortance: 

The Great Seal appeared uj)on treaties, proclamations, important 

instruments, and the like, and had also a counter seal or posterior 


The Les&er Seal is found upon the laws, decisions of the Supreme 
Court, and less important executive and judicial papers, and ha« no 
counter seal. 

The Seal at Arms may be seen upon summons to the Assembly, and 
orders addressed to provincial officials, and also has no counterseal. 

In describing the seal® and later, in considering the coat of arms, 
!he numerous technicalities, obsolete expressions and mediaeval ap- 
pellations with which heraldic description abounds are avoided, 
since tlhis description is designed for the general public and not for 
professional genealogists. Where heraldic terms are used at all, 
great pains has been taken in each case to define them. 

We have two forms of the Great Seal of the province, under Wil- 
liam Penn: one — the earlier — an enormous disc three eighths of an 
inch thick and three inches or more in diameter, — impressed in red 
wax not directly upon the instrument authenticated by it, but upon 
ribbons, passed first througih the documents to which it wa® attached, 
and protected by a tin box, — similar to those in which paste shoe- 


(Obverse and Reverse.) 

blacking is sold — with openings upon the opposite sides of the box 
for the passage of the ribbons. 

The later form of the Great Seal of William Penn is two inches in 
diameter, impressed in wax upon ribbons b}' which it was suspended 
from its document, and covered' above and below by paper, so as to 
form a white paper covered disc. There are a number of these seals 
upon documents still in the possession of the Commonwealth. 

This Great Seal of early provincial days, consists of the arms of 
the Penn family (a shield, crossed horizontally by a fess or band, 
bearing three torteux or biscuit, and the motto, "Mercy, Justice") — 
the shield and motto surrounded by a circumferential band, bearing 
the words: William Penn, Proprietor and Governour of Pensil- 

. -,73^../.*/v.^ . ^ , ... 

<L\m au' 

^M /«/v»/j>«i«/:V '. 

■ A 


f.'r.ri«',v •, -^ ./ica'^ ^ 






know \^< V... 




iD PEXN. Reduced P'ac Simile, 
r OF ITf.'i. 

The couuterseal or pocj^terior face presents iliiei' ladiaiiiig ears of 

Indian corn within a lircnniferential band bearing' lilie words: 

"Truth, I'eace. Love and Plenty," surrounded ciriunifercnlially a 

second time by an olive branch. 

The Lesser Seal of William Petin's govern- 
ment was the same as the great seal, except 
that it was smaller, and had no connti*rseal. 

W'lu'n William IV'iin died, and his sous suc- 
ceeded to the proprietorship of the Province, 
the seal was changed, but only in the outer 
band, in which were substituted the words: 
"John, Thomas amd Kichard Penn, Proprie- 
tors and (Jovi'rns. Pensilvania." Such modi- 
lications co^itinued to be made upon the occur- 
rence of each change in the proprietorship. 
When John Pcnu died, the inscriptiiwi was 
changed to "Thomas and Kichard Penn, Pro- 
jirietors and Governors," and when Richard 
Penn passed into that bourne whence no 
traveller returns, to be succeeded by his so!i 
John, the inscription was again modified to 
read, "Thomas and John Petin, I'roprietors 
and (lovernors.-' 

Of the Seal at Arms but little is ke.own. 
I have yet to see any description of it, al- 
though certain printed papers, handed down to us from revolu- 

iiouary times, contain rc^ferences to it. It appears to have never 

liitherto been described nor illustrated. 

The Seal at Arms, like other provincial seals, variedi from time to 

time, not iliowever according to the proprietors for the time being, 

but according to the wish of the va 

rious governors. The seal at arms 

of the administration of (Jovcrnoi- 

(Icorge Tiutmas in 1740, consists oi 

a shield bearing llirec lions iainpa^)i 

— stainling on thcii* hind legs and 

pawing the air — with a fourth and 

larger lion, also lampant. as a crest. 

This seal is an inch in diameter. 
The seal ai arms of (lovernor 

Hamilton, in 17(>2, consists of a 

shield l)earing three (piatrefoils oi- 

four-leaved flowers, while that of 

Governor John Penn, in 1774, con 

sists of a shield crossed by the tradi 

The Great Seal of WiUi.-im 
Peon.— (Later Furiii.) 


HoDal fess or baud of the Penn family with its three torteux or bis- 
cuit, and a tiger rampant as a crest. 

The seal at arms of Governor Kobert Hunter Morris, who presided 
over Peunsvlvauia duri«g the troublous times of Braddock's cam- 
paign against the French and Indians at Fort Du Quesne, was a 
shield bearing the three torteux of Penn quartered with the lions 
rampant of Thomas, 

Lesser Seal of John, Thomas 
and Kichard Penn. 

Lesser Seal of Thomas and 
Richard Penn. On this seal the 
name oi John Penn has merely 
been rudelj- chiseled out. 

The Revolution put an end to all this; instability of seals. The seal 
at arms was entirely abandoned. The lesser seal became merely a 
reduced copy of the great seal. And the great seal passed on from 
administration to administration without change. 

The transition from the provincial to the state seal dates from 1776, 
when the Constitutional Convention of that year provided that "all 

Seal at Arms (leo. Thomas 

Seal at Arms James Haniiltt)n. 

J-eal at Arms R. H. Morris 

commissions shall be ■■ * "■ sealed with the v^iate sial." and on the 
28th of September, appointed Messrs. Kitienhouse, Jacobs and Cly- 
mer "a committee to prepare the seals for future legislature and exe- 
cutive council of the State." Just here a link is defective, for we 
have no record of the work of this coniiuitlee. nor any report from 
it, bill the iia]iers of (Jeorge l>ryan, acting president of the Supreme 



'I'lic < Sciil (»f TlioiiKis ;iiiil IJiclund I'ciin. 






X .H 

<?1C - 1 ,, 5 4^: ixi ~, i 

r'oumil. iiboiit :i year and a luilf later, are found to bear a j^a-eat seal 
of the form, size and pattern wliieli remained in use for the ensuing 
ihirty-two years, and other evidenee, to be eonsid^^red in connection 
V. itli the eoat of arms, brings the design down to the time of this com- 

Seal at Arms R. H. Morris. 

The Lesser Seal of 1776. 

The design has ii,.-orrertly been said to be a combination of the 
creets shown on the seals of the three original counties of Pennsyl 
vania.-and consisted of a circle having a baud across the center 
bearing a plough, with a ship under full sail in the upper seoment 
Mud three sheaves of wheat in the lower, the whole surrounded^bv the 
niscnptioii, "S'eal of the State of Pennsylvania." 

The Seals of tJie early Pennsylvania counties were formed by 
mounting a distinguishing crest upon the shield of the Penn coat o'f 
arnK>». The civst on the Chester county seal was a plough, that on the 
PJ:iladelj.liia county seal was a ship under full sail, and it has been 
ni.-.u-rectly stipposed that the crest on the Bucks c(.untv seal was n 
sheaf of wJieat; as a matter of fact the crest of the seal of Bucks 
county was a fig tree. (Archives. .?d Series, Vol. XTIT.) 

Seal ..f Pliilri<l.-li.lii,i Countv. 

Se.-il of Chester Countv. 

The sheaves of wheat may. however, have been derived from the 
seal of Sussex, one of the original counties of Delaware, which 
formed a part of Pennsylvania when a province. The sheaf fif wheal 
was also quartered upon the st-al of the city of Philadelphia, fro'u 
Which its use in the State seal may have been derived. 

And thus came into being that combination of symbols, which 
for a century and a quarter has stood' for the power and sovereignly 
of the greatest Commonwealth in that arch of t^tates — the American 
Union, and which, by the might of its intiuence, the splendor of its 
example, and the for^-e of its arms, has contributed more than any 
otiier of the factors combined into our >y'ation, to hold its parts to- 
gether and to sustain its proud claim to be the keystone, which not 
only supports and consolidates all the other elements of the edifice, 
but itself is the capstone and crowning glory of the proud nation 
whose birth occurred Avithin its borders. 

Seal of Sussex Count.v. 

Seal of the City of Philadelphia. 

The couuterseal still more eloquently symbolizes the pre-eminence 
of Pennsylvania in the cause of freedom and independence. For it 
represents Liberty as a majestic woman bearing in her left hand a 
wand, surmounted by a liberty cap, and iu her right a drawn sword, — 
trampling upon Tyranny personified by a lion wliich lies crushed 
under her feet, the whole surrounded by the in.scription, "Both can't 
sui-vive" — and nobly has the Commonwealth demonstrated that ty- 
ranny can not live among her liberty-loving citizens. 

It was evidently a re-engraving of the matrix of this seal to which 
Monsieur Tenet referred in his letter from Nantes to the Supreme 
Executive Council of May 20, 1780, in which he remarks: "Captain 
Samuel Smitili, who has been readiy to sail for some time, will deliver 
to you as soon as he arrives in Philadelphia, the seals representing 
the Arms of your State. As you desired, the}' were engraved in 
Paris." Tills re-engraved matrix came over very soon after Monsieur 
Pt'uet's letter, as is evident from an examination of thc^ otticial papers 
(if ITSO, — the seals of tlje latter portion of the year being much more 
clearly defined than those of the eai'lier portion. T em]thasize the 
fact that ihii.^ was a simple re-engraving of a design wiliich had been 
in use for years before, to correct an erroneous impression that it 
originated at this time. 



The Seal of 17Tli. 

It was not until tiftecu vears after its first oniploAinent that this 
seal rec-t'ivt'd h'.ual rinojinition, the (UMU'ial Assembly, in 17!»1, confor- 
liiig a legal status ujiou the seals theretofore uc<eil. ■ 

And s!io this design conliiiued cm for (liicc du'cades lo altest the 
iioeuint'iits of ihe ConnnouNveall li. aullieHtitat in^ the jjajiers of 
Thomas .M'Kcan. Thomas Mil'ilin. .hihii Dickinson. Uenjamin Frank- 
lin, and oliher chief magistrates ol lanic and cniiiicnco. 

Hut in ISO!), the matrix of the gn-at seal having again heconu' so 
A\oru as no longer to produce a diistincl impression, h'gisl;ition was 
f-uaeted.f inoviding for a new die; and advantage was taken of Ihe 
(jpportunity. to (dahorate the previous design by the introduction of 
a shield with an eagle cre>t. upon which the ship. j»hiugh and wheat 
sheaves were emblazoned, but facing from left to right instead of 
from right to left, as had been the case witih the pnnious design. On 
the left of the sliicdd was jdaced a stalk of Indian corn, while an 
olive branch was laid upon the right. Festooiu'd above, between the 
blield and the crest and falling down u]ion either side, was a llower- 
i]ig spray. About tlie margin was continued the inscription, "Seal 
of Hie State of Pennsylvania. '" bui instead' (d' reading from left to 
right, English fai^lliion. ii was made to read from right to left. 

The seal of lsii!» persisted for forty years, finding its place not only 
r.pon ordinary <d1icial documents of iniporlaiicc. Iml also upon the 
commissioiir^ of the I'eniisylvania officeis in the \\ ai- of isji' .md die 
Campaigns in Mexico. 

•The rnns<t!tuOon of ]-.«!»-90 madp no provision for a State Seal. aUhough article 6 section 4 
ncnuniz*.! Its eylKt*-nfe. but the flr.»t law that passed under that instrument. .January 8 179l' 
declared and estal.lii-hpd the s-eals <if the Comnionwealth. as fnllows: 

••Wlereas. The late convention nf this Cnnimcmwealih did, on the second day of Septem- 
h^r la.ot. estallish a new foim of government for eenns-ylvanla. and no provision Is therein 
made for public seals: 

••Be it enacted th" hy the Senate and House of Representatives of the (^mmion- 
weulth of I'enfsylvania. In ficneral .\s>eml>ly met. and it is hereby enact«>d by the authority 
of the same, that from and after tht passing of this Act, the seal, heretofore known by the 
name of the •Great Seal.' latf-lv in the custoily of the Supr<-me Kxeculive Council Is hereby 
rrnstltuted the Plate seal, and shnll be alllxeil to all patents, proclamations and other public 
rollf. con mis.«lons an>l papers of State, which reipiirc the Great Seal of the Commonwealth. 
and to which the same has heretofore bet'U usually applied. 

••Anc be It further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the seal latch in the custody 
of the Suprime Kxe.utiv.- Council, called the Lessr-r Seal.' shall be hi-nc.-forlh dnemed and 
taken and shall be applied as the Less of this ComnMnwealth, and, as such, set to land 
"fflc- warrants, marrlaite licenses, llcinscs to keep public h.iuses. and such other documents, 
as have hereti lore !•< • n l.-'sued un<ler the f.esser Seal. 

••And be it firrther cnacit-.l by the authority afores.tid. that the said seals, respectively, shall 
be, am! the same are hereby declared to be the Great and I.ess Seals of this <'ommon\vcalth, 
and shall be aflixed accordlPKly. under the direction of the Governor." 

fWhercas. The Great S"al nf this Commonwelth Is so nearly worn out. that It is necessary 
to renew thp same. ,inrl whereas. It appears that there is no description thereof on record and 
It IxInK pnprr that the said seal shi uld be iiartlcularly described and established, .so' that 
the same may hereafter be more fully known and recrinnlzeil : therefore, 

"Ite It enacted liy t!)" ,s..nnte and House of Representatives of the Commi>nwealth of 
Pennsylvania In General Assembly met. and It Is hereby enacted liy the aulhorllv of the 
same, the ."errelary of the C. n m. nwealth be, and' he Is authnrlzed and directed to pro- 
cure the reicwal of the Great Seal of this Commonwealth, and recor>l and deposit a de- 
scrii.tiop thereof In wrltln,- In his oflW •• that th" same may be made r>erpetual.'^ 

I'nder the foreKolnij .\ct a reeord was made of the Great Seal, which we llnd In the Rxecu- 
live Minutfv under date of Saturday, ,Iuly 1, isnn, as follows: 

•'In obedience to tie dirertlons of an Act of General Assembly, i.assed the second ilav of 
Mareh, one tbrusand eUht hundred and r.lne, the followlnif description of the Great Seal Is 
recorded, that Is to say: 

•The shield sj.all be parted Per Feps, Or, charKcd with a plough. Proper, in chief, on a 
sea wavy: Proper, a ship under full sail, surmounted with a sky, Azure: and In Rase, on a 
field Vert, three Gf.ibs. Or. On the sinister a stoek of maize, and Oexter an olive branch. 
And on the wreath nf Its colours a bald cattle. Projier. (.erched. wln^s extended, for the 
Crest. Motif :- 'Virtue, I>tberty, and Tnderiendence.' Round the marKin of the seal. Com- 
monwealth of Penn.xylvania. The rexerre. TJbrrty, trampIInK on a I..yon. Gules, the emblem 
of Tyranny, Motto:— 'Both can't survive,' " 


Seal of 1S5S. 

During the administration of Governor Bigler in 1854, a modifica- 
tictn of this seal was used, similar in design but with a broader shield. 

lo 1858 the inscriptiou was 
corrected to read from left to 
right and in this shape the 
seal continued to perform its 
functions for thirty years. 

On (me occasion, in a pub- 
lished Thanksgiving procla- 
mation of Governor Curtin in 
18G5 and possibly in printed 
versions of some other public 
documents, a substitute for a 
seal was employed, which 
consisted simply of the coat 
of arms of that date, — sup 
porters, crest, and all — in 
eluded within a circle. This 
was not a seal, although incorrectly so used, and it is astonishing that 
the use of this unjustifiable substitute is very prevalent in unofficial 
publications. The largest manufacturers of priuters supplies in the 
country offer it to their customers as the correct design, and many 
persons are thus un^^ ittingly led into the error of its use. It is not, 
never has been, and I am safe in saying, never will be the seal of 
the State of Pennsylvania. 

In 18G8, however, the seal was again modified by the introduction 
of the scroll-work design in the lower segment of the circumferential 

In 1893, although the previous design continued occasionally to be 
used during that and the following year, — the seal now in use and 
Bli<)wn in the frontispiece was adopted, ddffering from the immedi- 
atel}' preceding form in the omission of the wreath or festoon about 
th<- upper part of the shield and, as in the seal of 1876, facing the 
plough and ship from right to left. This is the seal of to-day, and 
it will probably go forward unchanged as long as Pennsylvania re- 
mains a State and the hearth stones of her homes continue their 
fliospitable functions. 

The heraldic tinctures properly appear in the seal, 
as well as in the coat of arms, but, as they can nevei' 
be brought out in an impressed seal by hand color- 
ing when the seal is complete, they are ordinarily 
represented by certain conventional signs. A back- 
ground of transverse lines, for instance, indicates 
blue, one of dots or points marks gold, and one of incorrect substitute 
oblique lines represents green. The heraldic colors, iSbV*^ ^^^^ "*^^ "* 

KSeal of 1809. 

Seal of ]s.-,4. 


— familiar fiom tlio voiy exci'lUiit rcprost'utation in Suiuirs Hand 
book. — are accorilinjilv conviMiiioually so indiralcd in iclicr in tlie 


In addition lo tlie heraldic tinclui(-s coin imiI ioujilly iiKlicalcd', the 
seals of INMinsyhania have fioni linu' to time \aiied in actual color. 
The iuti\ ^n-eai seal of William I'enn was tllie color of (he red wax of 
whiih it was coniiiosed. The remaining:: Penn seaKs were of the shade 
of the white jiaper with which they were covered. The use of white 
]ni\H'V i»ersis}ed until LSoi', when othci- lints were introduced, the 
counterseal, however, remaininji in white down to iilic itrcsi-nl day. 
<;overnor Hij^ler used a yellow seal and sonn-limes a }.^reen one. (iov- 
ernor Curtin's seals were red or blue inlerchanf^^eably, and with Cov 
ornor deary be«i;aD the use of (he }rilt .seal which has been cniploycd 
by iii« successors down to the present day. 

'J'he jjractice of impressing the seal ni)on riblions ((Mitinucd at in 
tervals until 1780. In many instances ])rior to that date, and willi 
out exception since that period it has been impressed din-ctly ujion 
the docunn-nt. Wax was u.«>ed to give body to the seal and |.crniii (»r 
a double impression — obverse and reverse — until i-cccnily, wiIumi h 
wafer of rice flour was substituted. This wafci' is a sixJei-nth of an 
inch thick and of the same diameter as the matrix of the seal. It is 
utilized by slightly moistening and applying it to the back of the gill 
j.aper cover; both are then affixed to the document to be authenti- 
cated and placed in the press, where they are duly fitami»ed into the 
i^emblance of the Great Seal of the Commonwealth. 


Wliilc the seals cut a very pioiiiiiient figure during the provincial 
])erio(l, (he Coat of Arms, except as it pai-tially entered into the seal, 
was kept so much in the back ground Hiat it may be said to have 
hardly a])jK'ared in colonial documents*. 

The Pent! Coat of Arms. 

Soon after the declaration of independence, however, a State coat 
of arips appeared upon the State paper money, which was issued 
early in 1777. Examiuadon shows that this design is ihardly more 
than the first State seal, without the encircling inscription. 

Emphasis is laid upon this point because, prior to the present re- 
searches, the existence of the first State seal was not traced farther 
back than 1780. Eeference has already been made to the discovery 
of seals of this design upon the papers of Acting President Bryan, 
1 v.o years earlier, and now tlhis evidence is submitted, bringing the 
design down to 177G, and covering the gap of four years between the 
])rovincial and State seals, which previous investigators were unable 
to account for. It may be suggevsted that the seal might have been 
coi)ied from the coat of arms, but that is disproved by the fact that, 
had the coat of arms been the original design, it would have been sup- 
I'licd with the crest, supporters and motto naturally belonging 
t h( reto. 

In tihe following year, indeed, these were sup])lied in the coat of 
i'.inis engraved Ity Caleb Lownes. of IMiiladelphia. Here were pro- 
vided: lirst, a shield, upon which (he shi}), plough and sheaves of 
wheal were emblazoned; isecond, a crest, consit>ling of an eagle with 
outstretched vtiugs; third, supporters, consisting of two black horses 
harnessed for drawing a vehicle, one upon each side of the shield, 
and beihindi each of them a stalk of corn; fourth, a cornstalk and olive 
branch crossed below the shield; and fifth, the motto: ''Virtue, 
Liberty and Independence," upon a streamer extending across the 
ciitire width of the arms, below the other elements. 



<r 27/7/10/1 2/// 7////'/ 

■' /■' 


'/ J' ■ .*/' -V^ 

/»y,/i'/ ^-^ a,y <^^.4r y'-^/^-^^2%,; //^y^,c/y y^ 

j^/uiAJaif^ ^ 

Proclamation of Governor Snyder, the first to l)e authen- 
ticated by the Seal of 180'». 




Astor, Lenox and Tiiden/ 
.>. 1903 


lu ITlMt. this (-out of arms apjK-iUcil with (lie shield ehanj,^ed to (he 
^hai»e now in voy:ne. but wi(h inatdcallv no other dnnmes. 

First EiiBTavod Arms.— 1777. 

Fi-oiii this iioint sci.s out the long pfocession of representations 
aM<l niisieiuesentatione of our armorial bearings, which have adorn- 
< «i or disfigured the official documents of the last century. 

In IX).-) a in. .elided fomi ajijuaicd in which the (•oi!)s(aiUs were 
(•Miitxd iiiini ciilier side an<. liic liorscs were deprived of their trap- 

pings and ihencefoi waid, llie Indian corn svas per nianeni ly omi((ed, 
while the harness did not reappear until seventy years later, in 1875.' 


In 1809, one of the horses became white, and in 1820, both of them 
lost their color. Jn 1823, under Governor Shulze, the coat of arms 
was for the first time emblazoned upon the proclamations, — m the 
form of an exceedingly primitive wood cut with the two black 
chai'gers recumbent, while in 1829, one of the horses had arisen, 
although the other still reclined. In 1832, both animals had become 
white and were moving both in the same direction, to the right. 

The Arms of 1790. 

In 1870, the coursers remained o?^ th(' same sides, while the rising 
sun of prosperity, hidden behind the shield, sent up over the horizon 
numerous streaming rays of light, and a horn of plenty cast forth 
its contents in front. 

The Arms of 1805. 

In 1873, our rampant steeds had again changed sides, while the 
rising sun, ascending still nearer the horizon, irradiated its mighty 
pencils of light still more brilliantly upon the irridescent canvas of 
the heavens. 

And in IS?."). tli(' wliitc liorse was pronounood an intoiiopcr and 
l>aui.slu-d in disj^naccN while the dusky cliarger, whom he had sup 
phinted. was biou<rht foiili from his imprisonment of seventy years 
ancl a-aiu i.aiivd with his brother in hhick, to sui)port the arms 

The Arms of 1809. 

of the Commonwealth so long as the earth shall endure and the 
lieavens look down upon the raee of man. P:a(h of them was also 
litted with a harness by m.-ans of which they are ever prepared 
in draw the sj.iendid <-ar of state out of all uinicultics on to tii.' solid 
loek of ceaseless prosperity and perpetual alHuence. 

The AriiiH of IH*). 

The Arms of ls23. 

Ilith.-rto, whih- in -.•m-iai iis.- ;ui(l of a fairly invariable .Jmr 
acter. the coat of arms had nfver received the sanction of law. In 
1874, attention having been called to this anomalous condition, the 


General Assembly appoiuted a comiiilssioii* to correct tlie arms and 
purge them of all the errors wbicli bad arisen in connection with 


-^-.^ff /i>^k- ^'^t^- 

The Arms of 182''. 

them; and in 1875 this commission reported to the Legislature a 
coat of arms, practically that of ITDd, Avhicb is stated to have been 
engraved by Lownes, and which may be described technically as 

*The preamble of the joint resolution, approved the 3(th day of April, 17S4, directs the ap- 
pointn.ent of a cnmmiEsion, "to correct the Coat or Anns of the Commonwealth," and "to 
have the same recorded in the State Archives," set forth that, 

"Whereas, There is no record of the Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth, to be found 
in any Department of the Goveriiiient, and whereas, such armorial ensigns are frequently 
used, attached to or copied upon public documents of various kinds, as also upon banners 
upon State occusions, such as are very likely to arise during the approaching centennial cele 
braticn. ami in other ways displayed or issued from the seat of government, wherein correct- 
ness arid regularity are desirable: and whereas. The Arms now in use, from their style and 
from their aii roach to uniformity, are evidently founded ui on and derived from the devices 
composing the Great Seal of the Slate, now of correct record in the State Department, thus 
conferring what would .^epm to be sufficient authority upon the said armorial bearings by 
common consent and custom, though more specific authority be not known to exist, or having 
existed, has been lost." 

This con nrssion was authorized "to have the present Arms of the State, as far as as- 
certained, th> same l>eing derived from the Great Seal, corrected of such errors or anomalies 
as ma> be t! crein dis-covered by careful comparison with and consultation of the science of 
the rulet oi heraldry, and as soon as may be practicable, to have a coi:y (f said .-\rms. so 
corrected, c.irefuUy emblazoned and described so a^t i • be of record in the State Department 
for future reference; the description to be in manner similar to the description of the Great 
Seal now of record in said Archi\et." 

Dr. Egle rcn arks that, "the commissioners at first delegated their authority to two gentle- 
men well versed in heraldry, to report any suggestions or recommendations. Unfortunately 
these gentlerren transcended their authority and report at first a Coat of Arms with the fol- 
lowing heraldii- devices: 

"Escutcheon.— Party, per fess, azure, and Vcrt; on field azure, a ship sailing proper with 
canlon Arms of Penn, argent, fess sable with three plates; on the fess, or, a plow; on fiel-i 
vert, three garbs, or. 

"Crest.— On an escroU sustained by a keystone, an eagle, rousant, proper. 
"Sutporteis— Two horse.^, sable, rearing, respecting, caparisoned for draught. 
"Motto.— 'V.rlue, Liberty, and Ii dependence.' " 

Another modification of the escutcheon was suggested, as follows: 

"Party per fess, or, azure and vert; on field azure, a ship sailing, proper: on a field vert 
three garbs, or; o^e^ the fess on an escutcheon of pretence, argent, fess sable with three 

The foregoing was thus recommcndod. to the surprise of every one who was familiar with 
the history of the early seal of thj Siate, and also with the resolution of the I^egislature, 
which directed that "the present Arm.s of the State" as "derived from the Great Seal" be 
"'corrected of such errors or anomalies as may be therein discovered" and "carefully em- 
blazoned and described, so as to be of record." In their report, the gentlemen alluded to. 
seem to have been impressed with the idea, not that they were to decide the question of what 
was the Arms of the rommi.nwealth, ))ut to report s\ich Arms as they saw proper. The re- 
sult was thar the j-low was to !)•■ disi>laced by the Pinn Coat of Arms, while the eagle on 
the crest, was to stand on the keystone instead "on a wreath of its colors." 

The attention of the commissioners being called to the fact that such authority was not war- 
rantetl by the resolution of the Assembly, a collection was made of impressions of the Arms 
of the State, as deslened at various periods, as well a.= Impressions of the Great Seal, here- 
after to b'^ described, and. In rec< pnitlon thereof, the commissioners reported to the next 
Ger.eral AF.-en bly, M.irch 17. lS7,=i, the following: 

"That thtv had adopted the Arms as represented by Caleb Lownes in 177S. which represented 
the verltabl* Arms of the State, describing the same so as to be of record in the State De- 
partment for future reference:— Rt port of the State Librarian, isas. 


Escutcheon. — Party per fcss. nziirc and vcit. On a clii*-!" of the 
first, a ship uiidt'r sail. On a foss, a ph)ii,i:h pidpcr. On a base of 
tlic Sfcond. tliit'c ;rarl>s. or. 

•rill' Aini^ ..f 1^^J. 

('rest. — An caiih". roiisant. proper, on a wi-cath of iis cohirs. 

Siipp<»rtt'rs. — Two liorst'S, sable, caparisoned for draiiuht. i-earinj;. 

Motto. — "Xirinr. Libf-rty and IiKlei>en(h*nce." 

The adoption of llie arms, thus recommended, placcMl I hem on a 
jicrmancnt footin*; and relieved them from a continual ion of the 
vicissitudes to \\hi<h ilif niutalioiis of the precedin*; centurv had 
subjected them. 

The coat of aims is usually dis|dayed in simple black and white, 
but these ai-e by no nn'ans the hcr-aldic colors in which it is em- 
blazoned upon the State tla«,'. and in oilier places where enlii-e ac 




Miiacy is iii'id<(|. The ea.L'Ie is llic II;ili;i'tMs beiicdccpha Ins. or 
American b;ild e;i^'Ic. with while head and tail and deep red ni' l»ru\vn 
body. The Imusi's are. of course, black, as has alr<'ady been specilied. 
The fess, or band, and the margins of the shield ai-e of gold. The 


ship, of black, with white sails, rests upon a sea of blue surmounted 
by a sky of the same hue, and the plough stands out in deep red or 
brown and white upon its gilded base; while the three golden 
sheaAes appear upon a field of green. The cornstalk and olive 
branch, crossed under the shield, are also of green, while the motto 
is printed in black upon a blue streamer. 

The Arms of 1873. 

The armorial tinctures or colors each have a significance: — Gold 
indicates Faith and Constancy; blue signifies Justice and Loyalty; 
green represents Courtesy and Affability; black typifies Prudence 
and Constancy; red denotes Charity and Magnanimity; and white be- 
tokens Hope and Innocence. 

The Arms of 1875. 

The arm.s of I'ennsylvania then consist of a shield, bordered in 
the gold of faith and constancy, supported by speed and strength 
personified by two rampant steeds of sable hue further denoting 















prudence and fidelity, and crowned witli an eagle — symbolizing 
sovereignty — in tincture of deep red (indicating charity and mag- 
nanimity), witii tip of white. fnrtJH'r signalizing hope and i)nrity; 
while underneath the cornstalk of plenty and the olive branch of 
peace are ever bound together in tlie love and comity nuirked by their 
verdant tinge. Upon the shield, a ship of black and w'hite — wisdom 
and anticipation — sails upon a changeless sea of azure, ever teeming 
with justice and loyalty; a ruddy plough stands for gmerosily and 
devotitwi upo!i ;in eternal golden base of houor and integrity; while 
the three sheaves, in gold of constancy and abundance, never desert 
their emerald environment of gentleness and couitesy; — the whole 
completed and ]i(Mfected by a scroll of celestial hue, bearing the 
glorious motto of the Conunonwealth in ebon tinge, — prudence a«d 
constancy u|ion justice and loyalty- 

Recent Form of the Arms of 1875. 

All of its coiupoiiciit elements then combine to render the coat 
of arms a tangiliie assertion of the sovereignty of the Common- 
wealth. It is an announeement to the world, of the position of 
the State among her sisters. Its very existence means authority, 
strength, leadership, wealth and em})ire. It indicates the right to 
raise and maintain troojis; it asserts the authority to levy taxes and 
collect revenues; it aflirms her competency to direct and compel the 
edtnation of hcv peojile; and is a visible vindication of her [)ower and 
prerogative to maintain j)eace, j)romote morals and suppress vice. 

Itut a deeper exuniination of (he coat of arms of Pennsylvania 
shows that it has a far wider and more honorable signification than 
that jwrtaining to the n-alm of sovereignty. 

The j)lough jxiints to the great 8ub(erranean resources of the 
Commonwealth. This homely implement of industry opens m|i the 
soil to the fuoducta of agriculture growing in pi'odigions piofusion 
throughout the State. It suggests tlu- splendid vegetal ion. adajjted 
to every want of man. wliirli sjninirs up throughonf flie fertile valleys 
and produ<tive glades of Pennsylvania. It i-eminds us of the swarm- 
ing multitudes of dotnestic animals sustained by the products of 
husbandry. It calls np pictuics of the vast daily industries, and 
of the spreading orchards hanging heavy with the r-ich fruitage 
of her gardens. 


And then, taken in connection with its golden background, it 
brings to mind the vast mineral deposits to be opened up and 
adapted to the uses of man. The iron which, in the rockbound 
fastnesses of her mountain heights, has for ages awaited the op- 
portunity to come forth a«id assume, — here the form of the shining 
blade with which the captain leads his men to combat, there the 
delicate watch-spring, which regulates the labor of a thousand men: 
here the mighty fly-wheel controlling the vast machinery of a fac- 
tory which spreads its products all over the face of the earth, there 
the tiny pen, which, despite its lack of size, governs the earth and 
prescribes laws for all mankind. 

The boundless veins of coal, — which furnish power to the busy 
workshops and giant factories, the thunderous locomotive and the 
winged steamships; which furnish the heat to turn the winter 
of our homes into balmy summer, and render palatable the viands 
which support our lives; and which give us the light that trans- 
forms our nights into the brightness of noonday. These and many 
other minerals the great Keystone State pours forth generously 
into the outstretched arms of the waiting nations. 

The Sheaves of Wheat, upo« their field of green, typify the splen- 
did harvest which the State affords to the world, not only in her 
wealth of agricultural products and her treasures of mineral rich 
ness, but in the vast field of human thought and action. Manufac- 
tures of all kinds bring forth a tremendous output of ornamental 
and useful articles. Handicrafts are encouraged to the highest 
degree, and no useful art is so poor and insignificant as not to ob- 
tain a market for abundant products. While mental effort here 
reaps its highest rewards, and learning yearly brings forth a fruit- 
age of well-taught minds, who readily find a market for their wares. 

The Ship, upon its blue expanse, symbolizes the vast network 
of commercial relations ramifying throughout the State and send- 
ing its branches out into every quarter of the globe. It is the 
complement and completion of each of the other elements of the 
shield. It collects and disseminates the products of the soil; it 
supj)lies the crude materials and distributes the manufactured com- 
modities; it brings the learning of the ages to our doors, and 
draws out into the brilliant light of public view every individual, 
so that for very shame, no man daies to remain clothed in the 
ignorance and crudity of less enlightened periods. 

The three parts of the shield thus form a complete and har- 
monious whole, and well stand for a rommonwealth so rich in 
resources and varied in products, for a people so boundless in energy, 
and fertile in design, and for a government so efficient in organiza 
tion and effective in administration. So unlimited are her resources. 


indeed, that were tl..- Stair t.. he sunnundr.l lu ni..ii cw will, an 
impassable bairi.-i-. .•veiyihin- m-ch-il for the coniforl and l.ixniv 
of her citizens conM he piovidcd fioni her own tcn-iton . 

Xo lessinstnu'livc and sii--.-st iw is her iiiotio. -N'hi ii.-. Lihcriv 
and IndeiXMidenn'." Xi.t,,,. is a Iiadition of I'.nnsyl va.iia. daliiij^ 
fi-om the time when the i.roviiue pass.Mli out oi tin- hands of the 
profligate Chai-les 11 of En-land into lli,. possession of ihai ina-niti 
cent character, William Penn. P,.nn, t.he (Jnaker. I' ii„- uiaHvi- 
for his belief, IVnn the Onas cd' th<' I.oipiois, the Mifjnon of ilie Dela- 

wares, the honored adoptive father of both. Fonnd.'d ui tlu- 

basis of ".Tnsti.e- and -.Mercy," the motto of th.' Penn faniilv and 
condncted alon- the line.-* of "Trulh, Peace, Love and Ph-nlv." the 
motto of the proprietary couuterseal, the sway of tihe INmu'is ever 
followed alon- tin- lines of honor and humanity. With this j.rond 
pa-e in her .-arly annals, Pennsylvania may ever hope to perpetuate 
virtue throughout Imi- history. 

From the first, the people of Pennsylvania were tenacious of 
their rights and intolerant of any intrusion upon their privileges. 
It was more than appropriate then that the tocsin of libertv, which 
roused every loyal heart in 7(» should have »ound.ed f..rth from hei- 
StatHhouse. It was entirely suitable that the -rradle (d' Libertv" 
should have been located within her borders. Lib,.,Iv is. tlK'ii. 
P<'<-nliarly fitted to be introduced into the motto of Pennsvlvania! 
will, h gave Joseph Keed. Tihomas MilTiin, John Dickinscni, Anthony 
U ayne, Benjamin Franklin and a host of other brave and loval sone. 
to do battle against tyranny and oppres.sion in the Revolution; whow' 
governor-s wife in lsii» even tore h<'r mantle into fragments to 
adorn the uniforms of the soldiers of the (N.mmonwealth in the 
sec(.nd war with Kngland; and .diief magistrate still later 
was honored with a j.aean of praise by the Poet of Freedom. John 
<;. Whittier. berans.. of his fnlminarion^, against n.-n. 

The pursnil of personal lilH-rty ••ould li:iv.- no other (.Mininal tlian 
'imV Ind.-pend-nre. An.l tliat people, wl... wrest.'d (he jen.h'n 
weights from their .docks to cast int.. bullets for the uiiniens <d' 
tyranny, whose \';,||ey Forge was sanclilied bv the blood of marfvrs 
poured out for the of fr.-edom. whose Wvoniing was 
>-oil sprinkled with the fears of shed fur the defencd.'ss 
victims of that slaughter of the innocnls, had nn.pM>stionablv 
vindicated their title 1.. emblazon "Independence*' upon their arms. 

And nowhere do these arms shin.' more re.^plend.-nl Iv than upon 
the flag (,f the State.— that Hag whi.h. side l:y si<le will, the stars 
and stripes, ihas fought ifs way along the lakes in 1S11» in .l.-fense of 
tho rights of her citizens who had b.-en impressed' bv Ciwat P.rilain. 
and bravery in the batth- of I..-,ke P^rie was s,, 
as to enHrle them to medals of hoju.r from the Commonwealth. 

That flag of deep blue, with golden fringe, and coat of arms in 
tints heraldic embroidered upon itis azure field, — floated inspiringly 
at the head of her regiments in tfhe Mexican War, and planted itself 
proudly before 'Chapultepec as a, signal to the world of the might 
and loyalty of the Keystone State, and as it floated triumphantly 
back to the banks of the Susquehanna, it left behind to hallow the 
Aztec soil the mortal remains of not a few of her brave sons as 
a perpetual reminder of her worth. 

And, again, in that internecine conflict of the sixties, the flag of 
the Commonwealth bore the coat of arms into an enemy's country in 
defence of the "'Virtue. Liberty and Independence," to which her 
motto had committed the State. Here, again, on a hundred fields 
the valor of Pennsylvania's sons shines forth a beacon light tn 
tfhe ages. Meade, Hancock, Crawford, (leary, Hartranft, Beaver. 
Macfeely, Henderson and a host of other distinguished commanders-^ 
were crowned with the laurels which fell in the path of the Key- 
stone troops; and many a rout wa^ transformed into victory by the 
forward rush of the Pennsylvania flag. 

And, only the other day. when struggling Cuba stretched fortih 
her manacled hands in prayer for help, the coat of arms upon the 
flag at the head of still other regiments flew brave defiance to the 
Si)anish enemies of "Virtue, Liberty and Independence." Every- 
where tihat work was to be done, there that azure banner streamed 
by the side of the stars and stripes, worthy companion in many 
a liard-fought fray. Through the Pearl of the Antilles, across tthe 
glades of Porto Rico, around the morasses of the Phillippina**, it 
has led the gallant sons of the Keystone State ever to victory and 

And so, alike in times of peace and war, the i)roud escutcheon of 
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ever guidas her ]»eople upward 
ami onward to the inevitable goal of unfailing success, a success 
wiiich we in this day can see but as in a glass darkly, but which, 
in (he fast coming future, will expand and enlarge beyond the power 
of tlie ](resent to j)resage. 



puel;c library, 

Aster, Lenox and Tiideny 


This book 

IS under no circumstances to U 
taken from the Building